learning and assessment

Select an item by clicking its checkbox
Cover image

Demystifying Outcomes Assessment for International Educators: A Practical Approach

Deardorff, Darla K.
Stylus Publishing, Llc., 2015

Book Review

Tags: assessment   |   educational assessment   |   learning and assessment
icon

Reviewed by: Michael Sweeney
Date Reviewed: November 30, -0001
Few words strike fear in the hearts of post-secondary teachers more than “assessment.” Most faculty in undergraduate and graduate-level education are better-versed in their own specializations than they are in the more administrative aspects of their schools. Assessment often feels like one of those top-down assignments that faculty must add to their workload in order to get ready for the next accreditation visit. Darla K. Deardorff provides relief from this ...

Few words strike fear in the hearts of post-secondary teachers more than “assessment.” Most faculty in undergraduate and graduate-level education are better-versed in their own specializations than they are in the more administrative aspects of their schools. Assessment often feels like one of those top-down assignments that faculty must add to their workload in order to get ready for the next accreditation visit.

Darla K. Deardorff provides relief from this fear by removing the mystery from the process of assessment. She places it within the healthy context of enabling teachers to see if their work is actually accomplishing what they intend for it to accomplish, and, on a broader scale, if the overall mission of the institution is being achieved. Deardorff takes time to define all of the technical terms so that even those who feel like novices in this domain understand the issues, making it an easy read. The second half of the book is comprised entirely of appendices, full of succinct guidelines on how to create and implement an assessment plan along with examples of tools and processes used at various schools.

The book begins in an engaging manner by using several myths regarding assessment as a foil to make a case for the importance of doing assessment well. The second chapter then looks at thirty frequently asked questions about assessment. Once the reader finishes the first two chapters, he or she is prepared to find out more about the distinctive aspects of international education and learn what goes into creating an effective assessment program – from start, through implementation, and finally to evaluation and revision.

Most of this book would serve as a practical guide for anyone involved in educational assessment, but Deardorff relates the book most specifically to those engaged in international education, by which she means “efforts that address the integration of international, intercultural, or global dimensions into education” (29). This includes schools with study abroad programs, those with a strong international student or faculty presence on campus, or even those that are actively engaged in preparing students to work in other cultures or simply be better global citizens. This adds a level of complexity to the assessment process that traditional models of assessment have not addressed.

While many books on assessment are geared more toward institutional assessment in comparison with other institutions or benchmarks, Deardorff is focused on student learning outcomes and how one knows whether or not they are being achieved. Special attention is given to whether or not methods of measuring these outcomes are both valid and accurate. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this kind of assessment, but the processes outlined in the book should help any institution create an assessment plan that is both feasible and useful. While it is vital that faculty be heavily involved in this process, a good assessment plan will involve multiple stakeholders, will be integrated into the ongoing program of the school, will make use of both indirect and direct methods of feedback, and will make use of well-planned rubrics.

Cover image

The Wiley Handbook of Cognition and Assessment: Frameworks, Methodologies, and Applications

Rupp, Andre A., and Leighton, Jacqueline P., eds.
Wiley, John & Sons, Inc., 2017

Book Review

Tags: assessment   |   educational assessment   |   learning and assessment
icon

Reviewed by: Joanne Robinson, University of North Carolina - Charlotte
Date Reviewed: June 23, 2017
This is a book for assessment professionals; it is the rare teacher in higher education who would be able or willing to get this deep into the weeds of higher education assessment design and deployment. Many of the fifty-two authors contributing to this volume are affiliated with the Educational Testing Service and most seem to be practitioners of assessment for corporations or academic institutions. As the foreword clearly states, the ...

This is a book for assessment professionals; it is the rare teacher in higher education who would be able or willing to get this deep into the weeds of higher education assessment design and deployment. Many of the fifty-two authors contributing to this volume are affiliated with the Educational Testing Service and most seem to be practitioners of assessment for corporations or academic institutions. As the foreword clearly states, the authors are a mix of psychometricians and cognitive psychologists “bringing measurement science into real-world practice” (xx). The book is geared to a multidisciplinary audience, including “educational measurement researchers,” “assessment development practitioners,” and graduate students interested in the measurement of cognition. It is not suitable for classroom teachers interested in exploring course or program assessment.

The greatest value of this volume for the average faculty member at any type of institution will be to provide a lens through which to view the many requests from higher administration to comply with particular types of assessment practices. The first part of the book, which comprises ten chapters, covers frameworks for assessment, and several of the earlier articles in this section are general enough to provide useful insight into assessment protocols. Most of the other two sections, focusing on Methodologies (six chapters) and Applications (seven chapters), are so detailed and technical as to be inaccessible to non-professionals in the field of assessment. A few articles stand apart from this: “Assessing and Supporting Hard-to-Measure Constructs in Video Games” by Valerie Shute and Lubin Wang, and “Conversation-Based Assessment” by G. Tanner Jackson and Diego Zapata-Rivera – both provide interesting alternative visions for approaching assessment and offer promising departures from the typical standardized written assessment.

This volume is full of cutting-edge research on cognition and assessment couched in language inaccessible to those outside the field. The brief “Final Words” section contains a plea that classroom faculty should note: “in order for the work in this Handbook to have the best chance of finding its way into practice, we need to be ambassadors of this research while understanding that it will require time, patience, and functional prototypes to persuade clients and users to believe the scientific and social evidence” (586). This is not the entry-level volume that will allow faculty to help as ambassadors of this sort. This anthology will be of interest primarily to those whose professional focus for research or practice is cognition and assessment in education.

Cover image

Connecting Learning Across the Institution (New Directions for Higher Education, Number 165)

Eddy, Pamela L., ed.
Wiley, 2014

Book Review

Tags: assessing learning   |   learning and assessment   |   learning integration   |   student learning
icon

Reviewed by: Brenda Llewellyn Ihssen, Pacific Lutheran University
Date Reviewed: February 26, 2015
Through a framework of three segments that set educational context, demonstrate integration, and provide planning models, Pamela L. Eddy’s edited volume of essays explores the question of learning across the institution by framing research around questions that consider stakeholders, institutional populations, and applicability of theoretical approaches to learning. Offering both a scholarly focus and practical applicability, this volume brings together and advances the way faculty think about learning, it ...

Through a framework of three segments that set educational context, demonstrate integration, and provide planning models, Pamela L. Eddy’s edited volume of essays explores the question of learning across the institution by framing research around questions that consider stakeholders, institutional populations, and applicability of theoretical approaches to learning. Offering both a scholarly focus and practical applicability, this volume brings together and advances the way faculty think about learning, it highlights the common features that stakeholders share, and presents insight about how to support faculty learning and development.

In the initial section, “Setting the Context,” Barber’s essay “Integration of Learning Model: How College Students Integrate Learning” provides a helpful introduction to the study of integrated learning for undergraduate student populations. He identifies the issues contemporary students face – compartmentalization, expanding digital tools, lack of reflection – and urges faculty to develop a theory of learning that is both intentional and explicit in its awareness of these issues and mindful of the shifting demographics of the undergraduate. Further challenges to faculty vision are suggested by Eddy’s “Faculty as Border Crossers,” whose analysis of Fulbright faculty reveals that faculty are forced to confront their assumptions about teaching and learning in light of direct exposure to new environments, which can include language, systems, space, or values. Closer to home, Moor and Mendez’s “Civic Engagement and Organizational Learning Strategies for Student Success” proposes that a deliberate approach to cultivation of civic values both inside and outside the classroom holds great potential for integrated learning and student success.

After Leslie’s chapter on stakeholder impressions and demands regarding learning and assessment, Wawryznski and Baldwin’s essay encourages academic leaders (beginning with chief academic officers) to model and promote (both in and outside of the classroom) the types of “high-impact practices” that make for a holistic approach to higher education. Zakrajsek’s “Developing Learning in Faculty: Seeking Expert Assistance from Colleagues,” encourages a return among faculty to the types of learning cultures that are formulated within a graduate experience. In addition to seeking feedback regarding classroom teaching, Zakrajsek reminds the reader that disciplinary expertise aside, an interprofessional approach to the academic culture is recommended for both student and professorial success. The concluding essay in the second section, VanDerLinden’s “Blended Learning as Transformational Institutional Learning,” encourages thoughtful consideration of hybrid course models that include critical reflection at multiple levels in order to achieve the greatest level of success: student, professorial, and institutional.

The final portion of this collection addresses consequences of the theories and practices outlined thus far. While authors Amey, Neumann, and Bolitzer propose organizational frameworks and strategies, Chance identifies connections and key issues that bring all of the groups identified in this volume into conversation with one another.

The notion that faculty must scaffold disciplinary content with institutional and civic values is growing increasingly common. Irrespective of Fulbright activity, more and more faculty are being challenged to be “border crossers” within their field and across the campus. This volume of essays provides an excellent start to considering both the theoretical and the practical elements and implications of these shifts in higher education in North America.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!